A white dude brings his Asian-American girlfriend to a poker party. A white dude hits the town with his Asian girlfriend. A white solider talks to his pregnant Asian wife as she undergoes a sonogram. This white dude-Asian lady combo seems to be a thing of late in Western advertising—a familiar ad trope, if you will.
As The Washington Post points out, the depiction tends to go one way: white dude and Asian lady. "African Americans are rarely glimpsed with white mates in TV shows or commercials, for example," the paper adds. "It may even be more common than an Asian American man paired with an Asian American woman."
As The Washington Post points out, this trend—which isn't new—has caused some Asian American activists to raise objections, apparently contesting that it casts Asian American women as "playthings".
Asian males are rarely cast with white women in the West. According to Bill Imada, chairman of a Los Angeles ad agency, "The idea is that they're not strong enough to woo a white woman. So they don't get the roles."
This is also perhaps why Hollywood continually insists on having white dudes play Asian characters. The thing that often feels so odd for me is this: I visit the U.S. for about two weeks every year. I've now lived over a third of my life in Japan and am totally used to being surrounded by Japanese people all the time. So when I go to the U.S. and see the smorgasbord of different people, everyone seems, talks, and acts, well, incredibly American!
It isn't like this in Asia. Asian males control the mass media, and there are tons of cool Asian dudes in commercials, TV shows, and movies across the continent. And, of course, sometimes they are wooing white ladies in the ads.
And what about white dudes? They either show up in ads as Hollywood stars, handsome boy toys or playthings, or window dressing. And more often than not, they're window dressing. Guess that's Japan's familiar ad trope?